Granted, we may not know exactly how budgies technically feel, but if you'll allow, any opinions would be appreciated (or perhaps some of you have experienced either option before and could share what you learned).
If you've done all you can do for a bird (vet care, quarantine, ect..), and it passes, do you think it's better for the mate in the other room to see the body lying in the dead mate's cage or is it better for the other bird not to see anything at all (and wonder where he is, calling out for days for him) ?
I've never found a bird cares one way or another. It will as soon start calling out to the wild birds outside. Over the weekend I put my female budgie in a breeder and her friend the peachface sulked for all of 10 minutes and now couldn't care less. He chirrups to us and the wild birds and is as happy as he ever was (they have been cage neighbours for 8 months).
I guess the individual bird may have different reactions to different situations, some may mourn where others won't.
Its odd that you should ask this question, I was thinking the same thing earlier in the week.
The budgies cage was covered so there wasn't much light, when I took the cover off and found Blue on the floor I immediately took her out, and out of the room. The curtains in the room were closed but there was some light in the room. I'm sure Tiny saw her, as when I went back in (without Blue) he was staring at the floor where she had been. like he hadn't moved! and it was about 10-20 minutes after I'd taken her out.
I wondered if he'd seen her and was working it out in his head? The others were just jumpy but not statues like Tiny did.
They are all fine now, like nouthing happened. I guess it is easier when there are a few of them in the flock, not like when its just a pair.
My poor Sky died earlier, on the way to the vets, after a fall in the cage.
Minty was her mate and brother (!) but they were inseperable, and I couldn't bear the thought of him searching for her and calling for her. So I put her body back in the bottom of the cage. This is what happened. Minty & Tiny did their chatting up song for her from their perches. They kept looking down at her.
Minty went to the bottom of the cage and ate grit from the dish next to SKy looking over to her from time to time. Tiny came down and did the same. Harry joined them after a while. Tiny and Harry went back up to the high perches and didn't take much notice after that.
Minty went over to Sky and quietly sang to her. He walked around and kept coming back to her. Got cross and no response and shoved the dish around, then came back to her. He flew back up to the high perches and had a preen.
Tiny came for a look, but didn't sing to her.
Once they all had preened and eaten and seemed to settle for a doze I took Sky out of the cage. Harry and Tiny are carrying on as normal. Minty is feeding and going round chatting up drinkers and cage bars. I take it to mean he is looking for a new friend so hoping it means he won't be calling for or looking for Sky.
I've no idea what they are thinking or feeling or how much they 'understand' but doing this seems to have Minty calmer than I would have expected and he hasn't been looking for or calling for Sky.
If you have this happen to you, its personal preference as to what you feel comfortable doing. But for our flock it seems to have been the right thing to do. Rather than being upset as you 'expect' they would be, they just seem to check what has happend then move on.